Some of Sandoval’s vetoes could come back in 2019

CARSON CITY — Democrats in the Nevada Legislature no doubt would like a chance to override some of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 41 vetoes from the 2017 session when they return to the capital in 19 months.

But first they will have to expand their Senate and Assembly majorities to a veto-proof two-thirds in each house. It will be no easy task.

“It could happen, but it is an uphill battle, especially on the Senate side,” said University of Nevada, Reno political science professor Eric Herzik. “We’ve had those numbers for Democrats in the Assembly, but I can’t recall the last time it was true in the Senate. You would have to go way back.”

Most of the many bills vetoed by Sandoval in his last legislative session are history. They were vetoed during the 2017 session and lawmakers would have had to override the vetoes by the June 5 adjournment.

But 15 measures vetoed after the session adjourned could be considered during the 2019 session.

They include bills increasing Nevada’s renewable portfolio energy requirement and offering Medicaid to any Nevadan.

Sandoval, a Republican, vetoed a number of bills passed by the Democratic majorities seeking to repeal measures approved in 2015, when Republicans controlled the Legislature.

Democrats currently have an 11-9 advantage in the Senate, with nonpartisan Sen. Patricia Farley of Las Vegas voting with Democrats. Democrats would need 14 votes to override a veto.

Democrats have 27 seats in the Assembly, one shy of the 28 needed to override a veto.

Eyeing 2018

Winning two more seats in the Senate will be a challenge for Democrats in the 2018 election season. Two of the six Republican seats that will be on the 2018 ballot in Southern Nevada have Democratic voter advantages.

If Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, runs for lieutenant governor, the open seat would certainly be targeted by Democrats. As of June, the district had just over 29,000 active registered Democrats to just under 28,000 Republicans. There are also 17,000 nonpartisans.

Sen. Becky Harris, R-Las Vegas, is up in 2018 as well. District 9 has over 31,000 active registered Democrats to just under 25,000 Republicans, with another 19,000 nonpartisans.

But Democrats have their own challenges. Farley, who won District 8 as a Republican, is up for re-election. The district has a slight advantage in Democratic active voters.

And Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, who is in the very safe District 21, nevertheless will have to face voters with a sexual harassment scandal highlighted near the end of this past session.

In the Assembly all 42 seats will be on the ballot, and two seats held by Republicans have Democratic registration advantages. Richard McArthur in District 4 and Jim Marchant in District 37 will try to keep those seats in Republican control.

But District 31 in Sparks, held by Democrat Skip Daly, has a more than 2,000-GOP voter registration edge.

Nevada’s 2018 election will also include races for an open governor’s seat and a U.S. Senate position, with Republican Dean Heller up for re-election. It will also be a test of the Trump Administration’s popularity in the mid-term election.

Herzik said the races will come down to turnout and the quality of the candidates.

“Democrats have to get their people to the polls,” he said. “They haven’t proven capable of doing that on a consistent basis.”

Contact Sean Whaley at or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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